Atlanta Falcons cornerback Desmond Trufant could’ve hit the open market in March. But Thomas Dimitroff wasn’t going to let that happen, so he did what any responsible NFL GM would do under the circumstances: he opened the check book and he wrote a big check.
Dimitroff handed Trufant Trufant earned a shiny new contract last April. That contract made him a top five cornerback from a compensation standpoint. It will earn him an average of $15 million a year and keep him in Atlanta through his year 31 season.
When Trufant signed his five year extension before the 2017 season, Dimitroff talked about his best football being ahead of him. The team truly believed that, as I’m sure they still do. If you recall, Trufant missed a substantial chunk of the 2016 season. (He didn’t play at all after suffering a serious pectoral injury in week 9.) The team stuck by him, giving him a lengthy extension before the next season even began, and that spoke volumes.
Facts are facts and here’s a fun fact: quarterbacks struggle to complete passes to Trufant’s side of the field. Since he entered the league in 2013, only 57.9 percent of balls thrown his way have resulted in completions. Trufant is incredibly resilient too. He watched his team (and make no mistake, it is his team) throw away an historic lead in the Super Bowl. This happened only two months after the Falcons handed Robert Alford a contract extension. Trufant sat back and patiently waited; two months after the Super Bowl loss, he got his extension. He had to know expectations were high given the substantial raise he received after an injury-shortened season. So he played his butt off in 2017, garnering a 84.9 rating from Pro Football Focus (19th among cornerbacks and “above average,” according to their metrics).
Trufant tends to fly under the radar a little bit. But I have a sneaking suspicion he is about to play some truly special football in 2018. Call it a hunch or call me Captain Obvious; I’m looking forward to it.